Liquid versus Solid Calories

Families, Food and Fitness November 18, 2009 Print Friendly and PDF

Often when we think about how many calories we are consuming, we leave out the calories that we have consumed as beverages. Depending on what you choose to drink, beverages can account for hundreds of calories each day.

girl holding drink

There is evidence that the body does not respond to the calories in beverages the same way as it does to calories in food. Your body may not register the calories you drink, so you could end up consuming more calories than you need. Another way of looking at this is that your body just doesn’t “see or feel” the calories from beverages as it does from food. The calories in beverages are invisible calories and can cause you to consume more calories than you need in a day.

Several studies point to decreasing sugar-sweetened beverages as a good strategy to decrease calories and help manage weight. There are many types of beverages that contain sugar or sweeteners that contain calories. We all know that regular soda is loaded with sugar. However, fruit drinks, lemonade, sweet tea, sports drinks, and many coffee drinks also have sugar and lots of calories. Make water or calorie-free beverages your number one choice!


DiMeglio DP, Mattes RD. 2000. Liquid versus solid carbohydrate: Effects on food intake and body weight. International Journal of Obesity 24:794-800.

Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity. 2006. Research to Practice Series No. 3:Does Drinking Beverages with Added Sugars Increase the Risk of Overweight? Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Vartanian LR, Scwartz MB, Brownell KD. 2007. Effects of soft drink consumption on nutrition and health: A systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Public Health 97(4):667-675.